The idea of working in a leadership role had always scared me. I never thought people would take me seriously. My reasoning was that I lacked confidence for such a role.
Last year I reached a point in my life where I was feeling pretty good about myself. But a leadership role still scared me and so I realised it wasn't just a confidence issue. It was that I lacked the skills a person needs to be a leader.
Leaders for Tomorrow
When I received an email from Hunter TAFE promoting their Leaders for Tomorrow course I knew I had to apply.
The course is for people with a disability who believe they have the potential to make a difference. And not just in the disability sector but in areas they are passionate about.
I work as a community development worker at Yooralla and am on a number of disability advisory committees. I am also on a radio show once a month where we talk all things disability. While I never used to be passionate about disability advocacy, I have grown to appreciate the obstacles and struggles I and many other people with a disability face every day.
Reading through the course information I learned the course wasn't class based but rather catered to the individual. Participants are able to choose the courses they think will help them. What they offer to potential students inspired me to apply.
I applied and was glad to learn I was accepted. In February the course held an introductory two-day forum in Brisbane. People came from every state as the course is promoted Australia-wide.
While I met some very interesting people, I really tried to focus on myself over those two days. The facilitators wanted us to think about what changes we want to make in our professional lives and how to further ourselves. I knew I enjoyed, and wanted to continue, my work but I felt somewhat lost and without clear direction.
For two days we had group activities and presentations on mentoring and public speaking. This opportunity showed me I need guidance to improve my networking and communication skills.
This was reinforced when we broke up into groups with our assigned facilitator. We each revealed what we wanted to achieve and then all brainstormed how it might be done. Getting feedback from others helped everything to 'click' and even showed me that my goals were achievable.
On my way
Since coming back from Brisbane by facilitator and I have met once. We have talked about a number of things including improving my social media skills so that I can help others face their own obstacles and struggles.